By Jerrica Ching
On Saturday, October 4th, I ran a 5K in Portland. Three months before this run I had told myself that I would run every single day to build up my stamina and to ensure that I would not burn out for the actual race. My expectations for myself definitely did not meet reality; I think I only ran on the treadmill a total of five times during those three months, and two of those times had been in the week right before the race. The other interesting thing about this 5K was that it was an outdoor night run, while I am more of an indoor-treadmill type of person. I surprised myself however, by finishing that 5K a lot faster than I had expected, with the occasional bout of heavy-labored breathing, interfering side pains, a cramp in my foot, and the thirst for water.
I liken my 5K with my race to becoming a counselor. Now entering my fourth month of internship, there is still a lot of running left to do until graduation on May 1, 2015. There are bouts of “heavy-labored breathing” in counseling during the days when I feel weighed down by paperwork and “interfering side pains” when a new concern from a client seems to come out of nowhere. There are some days where I am constantly shuffling clients in and out of the office door causing a “cramp in my foot” from the repetitive process, and sometimes I feel as though I am about to collapse from mental exhaustion as though from lack of water to rejuvenate.
Sometimes I forget why I began this race to becoming a counselor; there are some days when I absolutely love what I do, and other days when I wish God would remove some hurdles and obstacles in front of me so I can see where I’m going and run faster. It would definitely be a lot easier if nothing unexpected happened. I often forget that all of these small blocks in my race are part of the race experience. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I am comforted knowing that God did not place me at the starting line of this race expecting me to fail. The obstacles that are set before me build endurance, strength, and wisdom that will carry over with me to many other races in my future. Although I may try to train for a race three months ahead of time, I will never be fully prepared for what I may come across while running. All I know is that no matter what I may encounter on this race, God is already waiting at the end of the finish line for me.
Jerrica K. F. Ching is in her fourth and final year of study as a Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling student at George Fox University. She received a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Dance from The University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently an intern therapist at Lower Columbia Mental Health Center in Longview, WA and Concordia University in Portland, OR.